Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Meringue Buttercream Frosting
We are thrilled to share this gorgeous cake recipe from Magnolia Bakery. Magnolia Bakery opened in New York City in 1996 and quickly gained a reputation for its light, airy cupcakes and homey American desserts. They now have eight locations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dubai.
Meyer lemon slices or lemon slices (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease bottoms of three 9x1-1/2-inch round cake pans*. Line bottoms of pans with waxed paper. Grease bottoms and sides of pans, then lightly flour pans; set aside.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In another medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg whites.
In stand mixer bowl, combine sugar and lemon peel, rubbing them together with your fingers until sugar is moist and fragrant. Add butter. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
Beat in lemon extract. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk-egg mixture, beating on medium speed after each addition just until combined. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes more. Spread batter into prepared pans.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove layers from pans. Peel off waxed paper.
To assemble: Place one cake layer, bottom side up, on serving plate.
Spread with 3/4 cup of Lemon Meringue Buttercream Frosting. Top with second cake layer, rounded (top) side up. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting.
Place remaining cake layer on top, rounded (top) side up; spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. If desired, garnish with lemon slices. Store cake in refrigerator.
*Tip: If you only have two cake pans, refrigerate remaining batter. Wash and dry one pan and prepare as above. Fill pan with remaining batter; bake and cool as directed. Makes 12 to 16 servings.
Lemon Meringue Buttercream Frosting
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
A candy thermometer is handy for measuring the temperature of the sugar syrup to firm-ball stage (245°F). If you don’t have a candy thermometer, test for firm-ball stage by dropping a little of the syrup in cold water. The drop of syrup should hold its shape but still be malleable to the touch. This occurs about 15 minutes after bringing syrup to boiling.
Allow butter and egg whites to stand at room temperature 30 minutes. In small saucepan combine 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 cup water. Place pan over low heat and stir frequently to dissolve sugar. Brush down the sugar that sticks to sides. Increase to medium heat.
Combine cream of tartar with 1 teaspoon water. Stir into syrup at boiling point. Clip candy thermometer to side of pan. Continue cooking, without stirring, until thermometer registers 245°F (firm-ball stage), about 15 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer.
Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl beat egg whites on medium speed. Gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form (this should take about 8 minutes). Gradually pour hot syrup mixture in thin stream over egg whites**, beating on high speed about 5 minutes; scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Gradually add butter, beating until light and fluffy (mixture may appear curdled at first). Add lemon peel, lemon juice, and lemon extract. Beat until just combined. Yield: 5 to 6 cups frosting.
*Note: Look for pasteurized liquid egg whites or whole pasteurized eggs in your grocer’s dairy case.
**Tip: If using a stand mixer with a single beater that moves around the bowl, stop mixer and pour small amount of syrup over egg whites. Immediately beat on high speed 5 seconds. Stop mixer and add more syrup. Beat on high speed 5 seconds more. Continue stopping and adding remaining syrup in batches. If using handheld mixer, beat syrup into whites in steady stream. Avoid pouring syrup onto beaters, which will cause syrup to splatter onto sides of bowl.